Kyle and Maryam Taylor, who left New York to relocate to Barbados with their two children, are the founder-owners of the successful ECO Lifestyle + Lodge, located in Bathsheba on the island’s East Coast. In addition to developing their ground-breaking eco-initiative, Kyle continues to operate his US-based businesses from his new island-home, while Maryam plans to launch a new stateside healthcare business.
Kyle: Maryam and I both love New York, but about ﬁve years ago we started feeling the pace of the rat race. We had two young kids, Maryam was working as a Cardiovascular Physician Associate and I was running several businesses. Despite being considered successful, our life was becoming an unsatisfactory routine of commuting, working long hours, rushing home to put the kids to bed, grabbing a meal, then crashing out until it was time to repeat it all. So, when Maryam suggested that we should ﬁnd somewhere healthier and less stressful to live for a while, I was all for it. Fortunately, as my businesses are internet based, I can operate from anywhere with good connectivity. The only other criteria were a similar time zone, ease of travel, safety and security, access to good healthcare, warm climate and the freedom to bring our dog. Plus, in my perfect world, somewhere I could surf. After visiting several Caribbean islands, we decided to check out Barbados.
Maryam: The only thing we knew about Barbados was Rihanna. But, by the end of our ﬁrst 3-day trip, we were convinced we could happily live here for six months. Apart from the natural beauty and advanced infrastructure, the people really impressed us. All the Bajans we met were friendly and willing to help us. It felt like a village with a wonderful community spirit. By the time we got back to New York, with a plan forming in our minds, we decided to go for it. Back then, we had no idea that when our 6-month stint came to an end, we’d want to return to Barbados on a permanent basis, but that’s what happened. We felt very comfortable living on the island, it’s a fantastic environment for raising children. By then Kayden was 3 and Kai was 18-months, and we soon found wonderful nannies and excellent nursery schools, which made our life a lot easier. Remarkably, while we would’ve been willing to pay more for that quality of childcare, it cost less than in the USA. The same applies to healthcare, where the standards are high but the costs are low.
Kyle: After getting outstanding support from our local legal advisor, I registered a Society with Restricted Liability (SRL) to establish a business hub in Barbados. Thanks to the advanced telecommunications, which are better than most places in the world, it has been relatively easy to run my US businesses from the island. By holding virtual meetings, and with my 212 number ringing here, many clients don’t know I’m not in the States. And if I need to eye-ball a customer, daily ﬂights to New York allow me to ﬂy there or invite them here, which has to be the ultimate in corporate entertainment. Where else can you drive for 20-minutes and ﬁnd great golf, polo, riding, sailing, surﬁng, diving, biking, even race car driving, plus all the tourist attractions, entertainment, music events and restaurants? My people just love it.
Maryam: With Kyle’s businesses going well, we could’ve just enjoyed living here, but we wanted to broaden our horizons. In February 2018 we invested in a small boutique hotel, re-branded it as ECO Lifestyle + Lodge, and set out to transform it into a sustainable eco-friendly business. Recognising that we have an opportunity to do something good for ourselves and for Barbados, we always ask, ‘Is this the most sustainable option?’. Year-round sunshine makes solar power a no-brainer. We try to help people eat healthier food without depending on imports. If we can’t grow it or source it locally then it’s not on the menu. Most of our furniture and ﬁttings have been made by local crafts people, often using recycled materials. When an appliance breaks down, instead of dumping it, we ﬁnd somebody in the neighbourhood who can ﬁx it. This country is blessed with talented people who are willing to work and learn. They just need a platform to grow.
Kyle: Barbados oﬀers a bit of everything for everybody. We live in a peaceful rural environment but can enjoy a cosmopolitan lifestyle whenever we want. Our friends are a mixture of Bajans from all backgrounds and ex-pats from around the world. There is a real melting-pot of diverse cultures, but the heart of Barbados is always at the core. People are still courteous in an old-time kind of way, with strangers politely greeting each other and chatting. It’s a lovely aspect of life that helps you feel at home.
Maryam: We had our fair share of trying times when we ﬁrst came, not everything went smoothly, and sometimes I felt like giving up. But, in the end, it was well worth all the eﬀort. We now have a beautiful life. Barbados has helped me ﬁnd the right balance, to be a better person, a better mom and a better wife. I’m very grateful for that. You can’t put a price tag on how much I value the wellbeing that our family enjoys.
Kyle: The world is full of people who spend the entire year longing for their next vacation in a beautiful, warm tropical island. And while they are there, during a moment of blissful reﬂection, they’ll inevitably ask themselves, ‘Why can’t we live here forever’? Well, you can in Barbados. And you can do it very well.